It’s been years since the New York Islanders were Stanley Cup contenders. Since the 80’s when they won four-in-a-row? Well, get used to it. Because at least one site has them in their top four to win the cup this season.
It’s been 33 years since the New York Islanders last won a Stanley Cup. Coming into this season none of us seriously thought the Islanders could challenge for one. I distinctly remember a lot of doubt surrounding the Islanders even making the playoffs.
At the time you couldn’t doubt those claims. They’d missed the playoffs by just a single point the season before. What changed to make them better than teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Washington Capitals, or even the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Rangers?
If the New York Islanders were going to make it, they’d have to play as well as they did in the second half of the 2016-17 season and hope that one of those aforementioned teams would falter and drop down.
Both have happened. The Isles picked up where they left off with their 24-12-4 record. And both the New York Rangers
the Washington Capitals have fallen off.
Top Four To Win Cup
So far this season the Isles are 11-7-2 for 24 points and sit in the Eastern Conference’s first wildcard position. They’re 6-0-2 at home, the only team to be undefeated in regulation at home. And their forwards are absolutely filling up the net.
Add that all together (and a few other factors) and MoneyPuck.com feels that the New York Islanders have a 7.7% chance to lift the cup in 2018.
Only the Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues, and Columbus Blue Jackets have better chances to win the cup, based on their models. That’s it. Not the Penguins, not the Sharks, certainly not the Oilers or the Rangers.
I know it’s only 20 games into the season. There’s still a ton of hockey to play. Making the playoffs is goal number one. Once they get to the post-season, then they can start dreaming of bigger things.
But at this point, it’s just fun to dream. To have those odds in our back pocket and think, maybe its possible? I know I feel a little uncomfortable about the idea of being a cup favorite. I’m just waiting for the Isles to Isles-it-up and make this a little more interesting. Maybe that’s what the goaltending situation is doing?